We may need an intervention. We might be slightly obsessed with Moab. But where else are you going to go to test out your new truck than one of your favorite places ever?!
I love planning. I’ve pretty much planned out my entire summer at this point. But, as we all know, things don’t always go as planned. On Friday, we were supposed to have our shit together and leave even earlier than we did the week before — at like 3:30. Well, we ended up leaving at like 5:00.
We did not have a reserved campsite because we wanted to try snagging a campsite along the river. We thought, surely, there’d be at least one available.
Note to self: Moab is crowded AF all summer and also it was Father’s Day Weekend.
So we got there much later than planned and for some reason I had to pee twice on the way (yes, I’m your stereotypical road-tripping female with the small bladder). Oh, I remember. Because I told Kevin earlier that afternoon that I was no longer sacrificing my hydration for a quicker drive so I was drinking a ton of water.
We drove around for about an hour trying to find a campsite on the river and they were all full. We later found out from a friend that those campsites fill up early in the day and we pretty much will never get one. Finally, we found a campsite with a ton of open spots — this should have been a red flag — so we got out to investigate.
And immediately got eaten alive by mosquitos.
I am not exaggerating, I think we both got at least 10 mosquito bites in like literally two minutes of being out of our car. So we grabbed some abandoned firewood, threw it in the truck, and went on our way. At this point, it was getting dark and I was pissed that we didn’t have a campsite and we were both really hungry, so we called it quits and returned to the rv park/campground that we stayed in over Memorial Day Weekend.
The good news was it was 9:30 so there was no wait at Pasta Jays. We had a delicious dinner and headed back to camp to sleep.
Or at least that was the idea.
I am now officially no longer a fan of rv parks. Or at least crowded ones. There are so many people in such a small space and it can be so loud. We had these people next to us who were literally up all night. At 2am, we called the police and filed a noise complaint (this was the policy at the campground — we didn’t just like overreact and go straight to the police). I looked up “white noise” on Apple music and put my headphones in, took another Benadryl, and slept from about 2:30am-5:30am — at which point I was woken up by some very loud birds and the very same people still talking and laughing.
I’m not joking, I think they were up all night. They also had a member of their group who was clearly having the worst allergies of his life and was also the loudest nose-blower I’ve ever heard.
I told Kevin that if they were staying another night, we would not be. Thankfully, they packed up and left and we were able to actually get some quality sleep the second night.
Disclaimer: Yes, I absolutely would have preferred to just ask them to be quieter — but I did not feel comfortable walking up to a group of 8 men in the dark, in the middle of the night, so I asked Kevin to go talk to them and he decided to just call and complain. He wanted me to talk to them and I told him that a) I was not comfortable and b) if I went to talk to them, I was not going to say nice things at all.
This sounds very immature and stupid, and trust me — it absolutely was. I am the worst when I haven’t gotten enough sleep. All of my logic and reasoning goes out the window and I believe at one point I actually considered murder to be a reasonable solution to this problem.
Needless to say, we will hopefully be avoiding rv parks (or at least finding some less crowded ones) in the future. But, on to the fun stuff! I don’t know if it’s just me, but somehow when you’re camping it is easier to operate on very little sleep. It’s as if your body knows it’s not going to sleep well anyway so it just deals with it.
We were at the Arches Visitor’s Center by 7:30am and got our Fiery Furnace permits for the following day. We have been wanting to do this hike since we first came to Arches but we’ve never been able to get a permit! With nothing specific left to do that day, we decided to take the truck out to Tower Arch and the Klondike Bluffs via the 4WD road. To get there, we decided to just take the gravel road that is not a 4WD road and that was very smooth and not bothersome at all.
We got to the trailhead for Tower Arch and realized that it was going to be like a 3.5 mile hike to the arch — but if we drove over to the other side via the 4WD road, it would literally be a 0.5 mile “hike”. Since we had planned on driving back that way anyway, we decided to go for it.
Now, there are several signs in various places that say things like “TECHNICAL 4WD ROAD – DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT 4WD” and “ENTER IF YOU DARE” and “THERE’S NO TURNING BACK NOW” — but Kevin and I have been camping in Eastern Oregon our whole lives, driving on roads that one should not be driving on and roads that are meant for 4-wheelers, so we were not bothered by these warnings.
In retrospect, we probably should have heeded the warnings. Obviously, everything ended up being fine and we didn’t do any damage to our brand new truck — but let me tell you, it was seriously stressful at times. And I don’t know if it was more stressful for Kevin, who actually had to maneuver the truck on these “roads” that did not even resemble roads, or me, who had to sit in the passenger seat doing absolutely nothing helpful the whole time.
We did get to a point where Kevin threw up his hands and said, “We’re done, there’s no way.” But I did not want to go back the way we came, because that seemed equally as shitty as continuing on, so I walked up to the top of the “road” and looked down to see if it got any worse than this. “It’s just sand, right down there, babe!” I said. “Look, it’s just sand after this — this is the last hard part.”
I really believed that but somehow could not see at least two more places where Kevin would say again, “We’re done, there’s no way.” But, Kevin decided to keep going, which made me immediately feel like I made the wrong decision and it was going to be my fault that we got stuck or completely wrecked our truck or Kevin had a mental breakdown.
Slowly but surely, we eventually made it to Tower Arch. And the road did pretty much turn to sand eventually, and it wasn’t so bad. We ran into a couple of other vehicles that were less equipped than we were to be on this “road” and that made us feel better about our chances. Tower Arch was really cool and I highly recommend going — but probably do the hike, not the 4WD “road”. Also, the gravel road that takes you out there is totally passable in a smaller car. We definitely could have taken the Corolla on that road.
We made it back on the 4WD road with no further incidents and I did take a video of Kevin driving on a particularly steep spot — but he’s disappointed because it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it was. It was so steep that he had to push himself off of the steering wheel (honking the horn and scaring me in the process), but videos never make anything look as intense as they really are.
Driving on the 4WD road was a fun and slightly anxiety-ridden experience and I think we’d both recommend it if you have a Jeep — not so much a truck, and definitely not a truck with a long bed — but it was doable.
We were so exhausted after having our heart rates up so high for several hours that we decided to head back to camp and take a nap before hiking the Grandstaff Trail. I would highly recommend this hike — particularly on the hot summer afternoons — because it’s a nice, long hike with a cool arch at the end, but it’s very shady since it’s at the bottom of the canyon so you stay cool.
After actually getting a full night’s sleep, we were ready to take on Fiery Furnace the next morning. We decided that rather than paving our own way, we would try and follow the marked arrows. We still got lost three or four times and at one point really did not think we’d be able to find the next arrow, but we made it out in less than 2.5 hours. Despite getting lost several times, the hike did not take as long as we thought and we will definitely spend more time just messing around and climbing on rocks the next time we go.
We did some pressure climbing and scrambling, which was really fun, but we didn’t know how long the hike would take so we didn’t spend as much time just exploring as we could have. I think it would also be more fun to go as a group. I know that my family would love it so hopefully we can get permits again when they come and visit us next summer! I would highly recommend this hike and I will say that the rangers definitely try and scare you a little bit prior to the hike, to make sure you’re aware that you can get lost and you will have to climb up and down things, but it was nowhere near as difficult as they made it seem.
10/10 would recommend and would do again. And next time, we will find our own way instead of following the path.
We finished our weekend adventure scoping out campsites near Goblin Valley State Park. We drove all the way to Hanksville to see what the town looked like and if there were any campgrounds/rv parks — and we stopped at a gas station so I could use the bathroom (of course) and this gas station convenience store was Kevin’s absolute dream. It is a store built inside the rock. Little did we know we just had to drive to a little town called Hanksville for Kevin to check this experience off his bucket list!
As a side note, if anyone has any camping recommendations in Moab that don’t fill up by Friday evening every week, we’d love to hear them! Moab is one of our favorite places and we will be back soon, despite the crazy crowds and summer heat!
Stay tuned for our next weekend adventure!